Thursday, 22 September 2016
In the Blood (2014)
Gina Carano is a former MMA fighter who has transitioned into acting. Her highest profile roles have been supporting turns in Deadpool, which I reviewed yesterday, and Fast and Furious 6. She's also led a couple of less well known films, however, such as 2011's Haywire, which is a decent little thriller, and this film, which is ... not so good.
I'll start by saying the Carano is not the problem with the film. She may still be at the "80s Schwarzenegger" level when it comes to the craft of acting, but like Arnie before her, she brings a physical presence to the screen that makes her watchable. The fact that she's a genuinely skilled martial artist doesn't hurt for the action scenes, either.
Before I get to In the Blood's real problem (spoiler: it's the script), a brief precis of the plot: Ava was raised by her father, who trained her from childhood to be a lethal, self-reliant fighter. Now in her mid-20s, she is marrying a wealthy young man named Derek. Derek's father is far from keen about the union, but it goes ahead and the happy couple jet off to an unnamed island in the Caribbean for their honeymoon.
After a week or so of fun and sun, however, Derek is involved in an accident. Ava isn't allowed to ride in the ambulance with him and when she gets to the hospital, she's told no such man has been admitted. She reports the matter to the police, but they - and Derek's father - seem more inclined to suspect that she had something to do with her husband's disappearance than mystery ambulances. So Ava sets out to find out what happened to Derek, using all the skills at her command.
All of which is a perfectly fine if rather formulaic premise for an action film. Where In the Blood fails is in its execution of that premise. The script's rather slow in places, its explanation for what's happened to Derek is hugely contrived and doesn't really hold up to scrutiny, and the final act relies very heavily on (a) a whole bunch of random people putting their lives on the line for Ava and Derek without any real justification for it, and (b) Danny Trejo - who's had about a minute of screen time before this - turning up just as they need him. It's rather unsatisfying, to say the least.
If you want to see Gina Carano kicking butt in a lead role, stick to Haywire.